February 2015 Feature Articles

February 2015 Self Help Articles
News You Can Use

Mission Empower Offers Winter Training Classes

Mission Empower is committed to the empowerment and education of youth, families, and service providers throughout Erie County.  We believe that in order for any individual to be able to reach their potential they must possess the tools for success.  Mission Empower offers a variety of training that provides the support for families, youth and community members along their journey through life.

IEP Clinic
Thursday, January 22, 2015
5:00 – 8:00 pm

Literacy Training
Thursday, February 12, 2015
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Food For Life
Monday, February 23, 2015
6:00 – 8:00 pm

IEP Clinic at Corry Middle School
Thursday, February 26, 2015
5:30 – 7:30 pm

Mission Empower is located at 1611 Peach Street, Suite 120, Erie, PA 16501.

Registration is free! To register, call Mission Empower at 814-825-0788 or email advocate@missionempower.org.

To learn more, visit www.missionempower.org.

Community Care Member Advisory Committee Meetings
Let your voice be heard!

Community Care is a nonprofit managed care organization. We oversee behavioral health care services and programs that our members receive. Community Care works with providers to help them to deliver innovative and accessible, behavioral health services. Our belief is that behavioral health recovery is possible and that all individuals should have a voice in their treatment.

Our number one goal is to improve the quality of services for our members and families in the communities through a partnership focused on suggested recovery outcomes. We need your feedback to achieve that goal!

Who can attend?

  • Adult Community Care Members
    Members of Community Care are individuals who are currently enrolled in Pennsylvania HealthChoices.

Eligible Members who attend the meeting will receive:

  • Free refreshments
  • $35 for attending the entire meeting

Meetings for Erie County will be held on:

  • February 9, 2015
  • May 11, 2015
  • August 10, 2015
  • November 9, 2015

Time and Location

  • 2:00 – 3:30 pm
  • St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2216 Peach Street

*Attendees must register at least one week before each meeting by calling 1.855.310.0241

Community Care Family Advisory Committee Meetings
Let your voice be heard!

Community Care is a nonprofit managed care organization. We oversee behavioral health care services and programs that our members receive. Community Care works with providers to help them to deliver innovative and accessible, behavioral health services.

Our number one goal is to improve the quality of the mental health and substance abuse treatment services for children and youth. We can work together in a partnership focused on your child’s resiliency, health and well-being. We need your feedback to achieve that goal!

Who can attend?

  • Adult Family Members of Community Care Members
    Members of Community Care are individuals who are currently enrolled in Pennsylvania HealthChoices.

Eligible Family Members who attend the meeting will receive:

  • Free beverages (meals not included)
  • $35 for attending the entire meeting

Meetings for Erie County will be held on:

  • February 5, 2015
  • May 7, 2015
  • August 6, 2015
  • November 5, 2015

Time and Location

  • 12:00 – 1:00 pm
  • Hoss’s Steak & Seam 3302 West 26th Street

*Attendees must register at least one week before each meeting by calling 1.855.310.0241

Erie County and Erie Family Center Launch New Training Website Erie Encore

Last month, Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper announced the launch of www.ErieEncore.com, a new online training center offering on-demand training resources for human service agencies and professionals working with families and individuals in Erie County.

Encore was created to increase the overall knowledge and understanding of systems and services that work directly with families and individuals in Erie County (including Office of Children and Youth, Drug and Alcohol, Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Education, etc.). The site seeks to facilitate awareness across all systems by providing a wide array of relevant educational and training resources.

Encore was created by the Erie County Department of Human Services, in partnership with the Erie Family Center for Child Development. The website was funded by the Pennsylvania System of Care Partnership. Learn more at www.ErieEncore.com.

NAMI Support Groups
NAMI’s Family Support Group meets from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month and the Peer Support Group meets from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month. Both groups meet at NAMI of Erie County’s office, 1611 Peach Street, Suite 105, Erie, PA 16501. Free and open to the public, no registration or past participation in our programs is required.

Updated Erie County Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol and Housing Resource Guide

This updated directory lists the services, organizations and individuals that provide care for Erie County residents enrolled in Medical Assistance and/or eligible for Base Funded services.

Click here to download the 2014 Resource Guide.

New Publication to assist families with Juvenile Justice system

The PA Juvenile Justice System strives to involve families in all aspects of the juvenile justice process. The next publication, "A Family Guide to Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System," was developed by the Family Involvement Committee of the PA Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers.

The guide is intended to assist families with a better understanding of the Juvenile Justice System and to enable them to be better prepared to work closely with juvenile justice staff during the justice process.

Child here to download the publication (PDF).

Need Help? Call the Mental Health Association's Behavioral Health Navigators

If you need assistance to access and/or navigate the behavioral health service and support system for yourself, your child, a family member, or someone you know, you can now contact the Behavioral Health Navigators at the Mental Health Association of PA.

The Navigator positions are designed to help people of any age – children through older adults – find resources for the variety of issues and needs that come up when looking for or using mental health and/or substance abuse services and supports. When you contact the Navigators, you can choose to remain anonymous or share your name.

You can contact the Navigators at 717-346-0549 or 1-866-578-3659, extension 2, or you can reach the Navigators via email at navigator@mhapa.org.

You can also call the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association at 717-564-4930 or 1-800-887-6422 to be connected to a Navigator.

New Government Resource - www.stopbullying.gov

Stopbullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying. Check it out at www.stopbullying.gov.

Important Information About Medical Assistance Benefits

The Department of Public Welfare is making a change to Medical Assistance prescription drug benefits. The change starts January 3, 2012.

What is the change?
You can get up to 6 prescriptions each month. This is a new limit.

Does this change apply to you?
If you are in a managed care plan, contact your managed care plan to ask how this change applies to you.

The change does not apply if:

  • You are under 21 years of age;
  • You are pregnant; or
  • You live in a nursing home or an intermediate care facility.

If you use the PA ACCESS card to get your prescriptions and you do not fit an exception, this change applies to you.

To read the entire notice, please click here.

"Everyong is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live his whole life believing that it is stupid."

- Albert Einstein

Submitted by Brian M., Sprout Contributor

Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Alarms Available to protect residents in Erie

Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are available through the City of Erie Fire Department and Safe Kids Erie partnership known as “Protect the Place You Call Home”. For more information call 870-1402.

Medical Assistance Co-Pays

As part of the PA state budget for 2011-12, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) will begin charging co-pays for Medical Assistance services for children with disabilities whose family income is more than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines (or about $45,000 for a family of four). At this point, DPW is still deciding how to implement these co-pays.

Several organizations are concerned about the impact this will have on families. In order to give the DPW some information about out-of-pocket costs families are facing, these organizations have created a short survey asking families to complete.

Please distribute to other friends or families you know who have children with disabilities. Please fill out a separate survey for each child on Medical Assistance due to a disability.


Check out LearntobeHealthy.org!
LearntobeHealthy.org is an online health education center that has been designed to communicate physical and mental health science education concepts to students K-12 through health educational resources such as games, activities, and health education lesson plans. To learn more, visit www.learntobehealthy.org.

Erie County Drug and Alcohol Coalition Announces new Website to Aid in Fighting Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The Erie County Drug and Alcohol Coalition (ECDAC) announces the launch of a new website that will aid Erie professionals to fight drug and alcohol abuse. The website, www.eriedrugandalcohol.org, was made possible, in part, with a grant from the Erie Community Foundation.

The Erie County Drug and Alcohol Coalition, established in 1993, is an all-volunteer 501(C)3 organization. The board of directors and general membership represent human service agencies, health professionals, law enforcement, parents, business and community leaders, elected officials and others concerned with the development of an integrated drug and alcohol education and prevention delivery system. ECDAD is the oldest coalition of its kind in Pennsylvania.

For more information, visit www.eriedrugandalcohol.org.

Bullying Hotline set up by Safe Harbor Behavioral Health
Students in grades K-12 who are being bullied can now get immediate help. A 24-hour hotline SAFELine has been set up by Safe Harbor Behavioral Health. They are currently working with school superintendents and other community leaders to schedule meetings to learn about the hotline.

The number to call is 814-456-SAFE (7233).

WebTool Locates Needed Resources

PEPNet has launched a new “Research Search” tool for www.pepnet.org which will improve access to the rapidly growing variety of PEPNet resources which address issues related to providing quality services to students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The revamped search feature makes it easier to find resources, and provides immediate and accessible references for site visitors, while expanding the site’s search capabilities.

The new feature will search everything in the PEPNet Dissemination Center (PDC) where we house a variety of products, such as handbooks, articles, conference proceedings/tipsheets/curricula/training materials/CDs/DVDs, videoclips, etc. In addition to searching the PDC, you also will be able to search the following offerings:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • PEPNet Listserv Past Posts
  • Current and Past PEPNet Perspectives
  • Training Materials

For more information, please visit www.pepnet.org.

Use Your Head and Prevent Flat Head Syndrome for your Baby
Flat Head Syndrome is a flat spot on the back or one side of your baby’s head. Being in the same position repeatedly causes this condition.

The first six weeks of your baby’s life is a vital period for you to prevent serious disorders in the future– like facial asymmetry and movement disorders.

Here are just a few tips:

  • Alternate your baby’s head direction when placing your baby to sleep on his or her back
  • Carry your child in your arms frequently
  • Use car seats only for riding in the car
  • Avoid extended time in swings and other reclined seats
  • Provide frequent, supervised tummy time when your baby is awake

Visit www.flatheadprevention.org to learn more.

This information provided by the Junior League of Erie, Women building better communities

Preparing for Post-Secondary Education at Disability.gov

This guide has tools for parents to prepare them for their child's transition from public school to postsecondary education and adulthood. Includes information about laws that protect parents' rights as well as the rights of adult children in college.

For more information, check out www.disability.gov.

PASchoolTalk is a new site that provides a forum for people who have concerns and ideas about public education in Pennsylvania.  Some ELL Task Force members have already joined the site.  We’d really like to see more ideas and information on ELL issues on the site – but that will only happen if more join.


Text4baby is a free mobile information service designed to promote safe pregnancy and healthy birth outcomes, particularly among underserved populations.

An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby will help women in having safe and healthy pregnancies by providing them with information they need to give their babies the best possible start in life.

Text4baby is the largest national mobile health initiative to date and is being launched by an unprecedented group of public and private partners, including the White House and the Department of Health and Huma Services (HHS).

To sign up, text BABY or BEBE to 511411, or visit www.text4baby.org

New Resource Available for Parents and Educators

Learntobehealthy.org is an online health science learning site designed to help educators, parents and community leaders communicate important health concepts to students. The site contains comprehensive lesson plans, interactive games and activities, webquests and more. The goal of the site is to inspire students and their families to make health choices that will last a lifetime.

To learn more, visit www.learntobehealthy.org

Special Education Eligibility Guidelines

Parents if your child is eligible for special education did you know:

1. Only you can excuse professional members of the school team from your IEP meeting.  Fore example if your child has Speech, Occupational or Physical therapy only you can excuse their presence.

2. There should always be a special education teacher present and at least one of your child’s regular education teachers.

3. There should always be a local education agent at your meetings. (LEA rep)  This is a person authorized to approve an aide or any monies necessary to meet your child’s needs.

4. You can bring whoever you want to an IEP meeting.

5. IEP meetings should be held at your convenience and with enough time allotted to discuss and make changes to the draft document

6. You can ask for additional goals to be added to any IEP.

7. Goals must be clearly understood and be measurable. (A good rule of thumb, close your eyes and imagine your child doing this goal, if you can then it is probably a good goal for your child)

8. Education should take place in the least restrictive environment

9. Curriculum should be modified to meet your child’s needs.

10. You can always request an assistive technology evaluation. There are technologies available that support children who have a difficult time with Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Math to name a few.

11.  The Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) does not need to be signed at the IEP meeting.  This is the legal document that you sign agreeing with the child’s program, and placement.  It is always best to take home and read over the IEP changes and then decide whether or not you agree.  You have 10 days to do this or the IEP will go into effect whether you agree or not.

12. There are experts available from the IU 5 and PATTAN if your IEP team gets stuck on how to best support your child.

This information has been brought to you by Kathy L.
for more information contact Jill Hrinda-Patten Director of Mission Empower at 814-825-0788

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February 2015 The Family Voice
January 2015 The Youth Voice

February 2015 Ask The Advocate
The Family Voice The Youth Voice Ask The Advocate

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2015 Kinship Care Winter Gathering

February 7, 2015
Time: 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM


Crossroads Community Baptist Church
5827 Old French Road
Erie, PA 16509

Click here for more information

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